Several staff members of Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike (MOUAU) in Abia State have recounted their distressing encounters during Tuesday’s riot by protesting students over a tuition hike.
While the university administration claimed that the protest was infiltrated by troublemakers, some staff members alleged that they managed to escape the wrath of the mob by taking a bush path behind the school premises.
In an interview with Vistanaij Media on Wednesday, one staff member named Igwe Azubuike Chizoba, along with a lecturer named Mrs. Ngozi Olundu, shared their experiences of abandoning their offices and fleeing through the bush towards the Olokoro community to avoid being assaulted by the enraged students. Mrs. Olundu revealed that her colleagues who remained in the office were mercilessly beaten by the mob after she had escaped.
Describing her escape, Olundu said, “When I heard that the Vice Chancellor’s vehicle was barricaded and acts of destruction were taking place around the school, I quickly left my office and ran towards the bush, eventually reaching Olokoro before finding myself in Oboro, Ikwuano LGA.”
The destruction caused by the protest was evident as our correspondent observed the MOUAU campus on Wednesday morning, with debris from damaged property scattered throughout the school premises. The largest examination hall, Three Hall, was set ablaze, and other damaged areas included the road median, the Students Union Government (SUG) office, electric poles, school chairs, the library building, the school field, part of the Access bank building, and school vehicles.
To maintain security, stern-looking policemen were stationed in front of the Vice Chancellor’s office and in front of two banks on the university campus. A senior staff member informed DAILY POST that the university is still assessing the extent of the destruction caused by the students.
However, the university management, while announcing the closure of the school on Tuesday, insisted that those responsible for the riot were not genuine students of the university but “miscreants” who disrupted an ongoing peaceful examination.